Mutual Motivation: The best way to cope with finals

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As final exams approach, it can be a stressful time for everyone. It’s still important to take care of your mental health during these stressful times, though. Here we discuss some ways to do so, Photo by Skylar Kang from Pexels

Having arrived at the most painful part of the semester, it’s safe to say that many of us are now harboring some very deep-rooted negative emotions — bewilderment at how 13 weeks managed to go by so fast, yet so slow; anger at professors who insist on cramming in projects during the last week of classes; stress (for obvious reasons); and finally, nothing says “happy holidays” more than some pre-finals anxiety. 

There are several ways you could try to cope with these feelings. You could acknowledge the fact that you’ve already made it through 13 weeks, and figure you can last for two more. You could fuel your anger into energy by leaving a bad review on a SET survey or by writing an angry, yet respectful, email. You could realize that worrying about finals does nothing except harm your mental health. And if none of these work for you, you could always turn toward my personal favorite coping mechanism: nihilism. 

Given that less-than-stellar advice, I’m clearly not the one to be delivering any sort of guidance or counselling when it comes to finals. By now, people know how to study and they know how to look after their mental health. Instead, much of the problem lies behind the fact that people don’t want to study and that they don’t have the time or resources to look after their mental health. All in all, the main buzz about finals season revolves around a motivation issue. 

Some of us have been burnt out for the past three weeks. Others have been burnt out since the beginning of the semester. Regardless, being able to stretch out such a small amount of willpower over an extended period of time is a feat that deserves recognition. So, if you’ve made it this far, I applaud thee. 

My point is, if you’re tired, that’s okay. If you feel guilty for not being motivated enough to pick up a textbook or open a laptop, don’t be. Rest assured that a great majority of the UConn population feels the same way. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t study at all, but don’t beat yourself up for it either. In my experience, establishing some sort of reward system can help – a 15-minute nap for every two hours of work done; one piece of candy for every hour spent studying – you never know how far a fun-sized Snickers will get you. 

Like many things nowadays, the epitome of finals season can be summarized in the concise format of a viral tweet by @ihyjuju: “mfs be like ‘wya’ my limit bro. im at my limit.” 

I think we can all agree with @ihyjuju. However, as sadistic as it sounds, sometimes the best motivation comes from knowing that others are having just as difficult a time as you. And in my honorable opinion, that’s what finals season is all about. Yes, a part of it still revolves around securing our futures by raising that GPA and impressing future employers with the amount of classes we’ve passed. But at the end of the day, having reached the limit months prior to this moment, most of us are simply surviving together. 

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